Readers of The Kentucky Explorer have been introduced to the
Rev. John J. Dickey in past issues. Remember that he was a traveling
preacher throughout the eastern part of the state during the
years between 1880 and 1925. He helped to establish numerous
churches and at least two colleges. He was also a teacher and
a newspaper editor. However, his most enduring gift to us today
may well be his diary that he kept faithfully during some 50
years of his later life beginning in the 1880s. In all, over
6,000 pages written in his own hand make up this interesting
In this journal of his, Dickey often wrote down accounts of events
daily. Much of the material concerns his day to day life. However,
during the late 1890s he began to gather family history on various
families he met in his travels. We are offering these interviews
to our readers in the hope that they will be appreciated in the
sense that Rev. Dickey intended. These interviews were written
word for word as they were given to Rev. Dickey. Nothing has
January 8, 1898
Bro. May and I found the church with doors standing open, though
there was a good lock on it and the key not lost. Still the house
was not abused. We swept it out, put in two wooden window panes,
borrowed an organ and moved it in, and are ready to go to work
tomorrow. Tonight I preached at the Presbyterian Church, it being
the closing service of the week of prayer, subject, "The
Universal Church." God gave me liberty. The Holy Ghost was
there. Bro. Walton, the Presbyterian pastor, told me that he
preached in town every Sunday morning and night and expected
to continue to do so. The town is small and there are not people
enough for two congregations. But we will see what we will see.
Bro. May, I think, should preach twice a month in the town and
twice in the country. The school is doing a good work. I expect
God's mercy on our labors. He knows the reason we are here, because
he has led us here. We are pleasantly located at Bro. Abner Eversole's.
Praise God from whom all blessings flow.
Our meeting continues but no break yet. We are still holding
on to the promise and shouting victory. Last Friday I went to
the mouth of Cutshin and preached at Bro. Felix Begley's, grandson
of William Begley, one of the first settlers of the county. He
is 60 years old and professes sanctification. His neighbors say
he lives it. I found a local preacher there named Jefferson Sizemore,
who moved here from Floyd County a year ago. He has organized
a society here of 69 members, and they have appointed a building
committee to build a church. I praise God for this work. I knew
nothing of it when I came to the county. I hope to put a young
man at that point from Wilmore to teach the day school and push
the building of the church, and also to conduct a Sunday School
and help Bro. Sizemore and Bro. May or whoever the circuit rider
may be next year.
Friday night I stayed at Capt. William Eversole's, one-and-one-half
miles up Cutshin. From him I got the genealogy of the Eversoles.
They are a German people from near Berlin. Jacob and Joseph came
to America. The former settled near Grapevine on the North Fork
of the Kentucky River because of the game, being fond of hunting.
The other settled at Covington where he became the proprietor
of a nail mill and wealthy.
Saturday I went up Cutshin, eight miles to the mouth of Wooten's
Creek. Here the Methodists have been preaching for 25 years.
The last few years the place has been neglected. I found seven
Methodists, the Baileys and Greens being the principle ones.
I stayed Saturday night at John Bailey's, two-and-one-half miles
to the mouth of Wooten's Creek. Sunday morning Elder Clair of
the Camp-bellite Church preached at the schoolhouse near Bro.
Bailey's home. I had known him in Breathitt County. He invited
me to preach, but I declined taking the opening and the closing
exercises at his request.
I preached in the afternoon in the same schoolhouse. It is at
that point the Methodists had their meeting at old Bro. Bailey's
house, where services were held often. Sister Mint Bailey told
me that Reverend W. B. Gooley baptized 12 people at old Bro.
Bailey's house at the fork of the creek, the first sermon he
preached on the creek. Sister Creech and others told me he baptized
30 at one time, all by sprinkling. These were eyewitnesses.
At the suggestion that there ought to be a church built at the
mouth of Wooten's Creek, Bro. John Bailey said he had 50,000
feet of logs cut and rotting in the creek that he would give
and help them for that purpose. The proposal was made just as
I had gotten up from my knees, when I prayed most fervently that
God would make it plain to my mind whether or not it was his
will for me to take up the work at that place. I never felt more
willing to leave a matter entirely to God, feeling no preference
as to how he would decide the matter. At the afternoon meeting
I mentioned the matter and it enthused everybody.
I stayed Sunday night with John C. Lewis one-half mile above
the mouth of Wooten's Creek. I had known him for eight or ten
years. He is the father-in-law of B. F. French, the feudal warrior.
His wife was a Muncey, relative to Dr. E. Muncey, the great orator
of our church. I noticed a storeroom at the mouth of Wooten's
Creek, vacant (40x20x15 feet). I found it belonged to J. B Lewis
and son. I got an option on it for three months at $300. There
is a second floor, but that can be taken out and used in the
ceiling above with church windows in it. If it were papered,
it would make a good room for a church. I told the people if
they would pay for it, I would bring a young preacher to teach
school for them next July, and if they wished a winter school
they could hold it in the church. This would give such an impetus
to education that they could easily build a large schoolhouse
for the district, maintaining a school all year round. I think
it may develop into a good place for the women's parsonage and
home mission society to plant a small school at the tributary
to London. This whole community can be easily brought to the
Methodist church and many of them to Christ.